3 Days in San Francisco

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, October 22, 2012

Well it was an early rise in New York on a rather damp overcast day and with a quick coffee and muffin at the hotel then it was off to the subway. Our first train to Columbus circle allowed us to catch the train to Howard Beach where you connect with the air train to Kennedy. All went smoothly but we had our first travel delay of the trip. Due to a problem at SF we did not leave as scheduled at 10am but were deplaned and are now hoping to depart at 12.15. It's a cloudy murky day here in NY and we were so lucky to have such 3 good fine days.
We left as rescheduled and had a good flight to SF with some great views of western USA in the last hour or so of the trip. Sunny on arrival but clouded in by the time our BART train had made it to downtown SF. We walked the few blocks to our hotel Club Quarters which is very comfortable and has free wifi,complimentary tea, coffee and bottled water refills. Room is spacious.
Saturday we spent exploring the city on the open top double decker bus after first booking a Alcatraz island tour for Sunday morning. We did the city bus tour and were back at pier 39 in time for lunch then it was time to take the Golden Gate /Sausalito tour. We were dropped at the southern end of the bridge and walked across the bridge stopping to take photos at regular intervals. Built in 1937, the bridge cost nearly $40 million and has enough cable in it that if it was laid end to end it would stretch around the world 3 times. The fog and cloud from the morning had been replaced by a beautiful sunny day and we had glorious views of the city and bay. Magnificent!! The bus picked us up on the other side and carried on to Sausalito which is a very expensive area on the North side of the bay. This is where Otis Reading lived and wrote 'the Dock of the Bay'. We returned to SF just before 5pm and caught the tram back to our hotel. Recharged the phone, added some extra warm clothing, had a power rest and left at 6.10 to catch the tram back in time to take night tour at 7pm. This was very interesting and pretty cool but we were rugged up and we were back at 8.15. We found a nice restaurant for dinner which was timely as we were starving. The tram ride home was crowded and we were pleased to get out of the cold and into our nice warm hotel. Another great day!!
Our last day here started with our trip to Alcatraz Island the notorious maximum security prison on San Francisco Bay. A 15 minute ferry trip from Pier 33 brought us to this now National Park and we spent the next hour and a half on an absorbing audio guided tour of the main cell block that gave a clear insight into the history of the prison and how hard life would have been for the inmates. Cells were 5 feet by 7 feet by 7 feet and prisoners could expect to spend from 16 to 23 hours a day in their cell if they were good. Bad behaviour was punished with isolation cells or even worse, solitary confinement for up to 14 days in pitch dark. Terrible but an excellent tour. 14 escape attempts but only I may have been successful when in 1962 3 men disappeared from prison and were never traced. Did they drown or did they get away! They are still on the FBI wanted list - the case is still open.
We returned to the hotel for lunch and then went out again to get our washing up to date at a local Laundromatu. All clean now for our departure tomorrow on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong. We have enjoyed our stay here as there is plenty to do and our hotel, Club Quarters, is in an excellent location and is very good value. We would recommend it.
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